This is a portrait of how things have changed in the first elite neighborhood in the Dutch Indies. The area in question was formerly called Nieuw-Gondangdia. Later its name was changed to Menteng. This is where the wealthy lived, from top government officials and governors to ambassadors and businesspeople. Over the years, however, its beauty has faded. It has grown in an irregular fashion, due to the inconsistent application of city regulations, as well as its residents' lack of concern for the environment.
On this year's anniversary of the city of Jakarta, which coincides with Menteng's 100th anniversary, Tempo attempts to write extensively about Indonesia's first modern tropical residential area. This is where the Indische (Indies) architectural style originated. Not many buildings of this style exist today. Now it is a crowded, polluted area, used by motorists avoiding carpool roads. Menteng is a typical example of Jakarta's muddled zoning regulations.
Menteng started out like a typical neighborhood at the time of national independence. However, it has also been a place where prostitutes sleep outdoors and a place to leave food offerings to the spirits.